21 July 2008

No digo el español

I don't speak Spanish. Beyond "Buenos dias, Senor Cleaver, donde est Wallace y Theodore?" (thank you Harry Burns), I'm strictly a French/Russian/reading medieval Welsh kinda girl.

This afternoon, I was out running some errands and stopped to use the restroom. There was a woman already waiting, so I quietly stepped in behind her, forming a 2-person line. No big deal, right? Suddenly, the woman turned around and began this long, drawn out explanation of why she was waiting there ("It's a one-=person restroom, I can hear someone in there running water, but they haven't come out yet...") I saw no reason to question her motives, since this is how normal people everywhere handle this sort of situation, so I just smiled and nodded at her. I thought all was going as these things typically do.

We heard a paper towel dispenser doing its thing, and the woman who'd been in the room exited. The woman who'd been blathering on at me (in fluent English, with an American accent, I should add), stepped forward to enter the room. I stayed where I was, making no moves to muscle her into letting me go first or anything like that. The woman stepped through the door, looked around inside, and then turned around to me. In a VERY loud voice, and speakign VERY slowly, called out, "There is only room for one person in here. Uno persons!" and then held up one finger, to help make her point. Then again, in case I'd not understood I guess, "Just UNO persons - UNO!" and went inside.

I was, to say the least, not really sure what the deal was. When she came out, she then made a big production of holding the door for me and saying (again, in that loud talking to someone who does not speak English voice),"It's OK to go in now! You can go now! It's OK!!!" and then gestured for me to enter. At that point, it dawned on me, she doesn't think I speak English!

I'm not sure what made her assume I don't speak English. I'd not said anything to her, just smiled and nodded once, but does that mean a person can't understand what's being said? And seriously, if I was someone who didn't speak English, why assume I speak Spanish. If only I'd had the presence of mind, I'd have thanked her, in Russian, of course.


Taminator said...

Yeah, you look just like a Mexican. (snort) What a bizarre incident.

The Joffes said...

Too damn funny!!

Julie said...


LOL at this post! Next time you can take Roxane with you to translate :-)